Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks at the Seventh Annual Republican Women's Conference.

April 13, 1959

Mrs. Williams, Chairman Morton, my friend Meade Alcorn, Fellow Republicans All:

Meeting this dynamic group of Republican workers--full of enthusiasm and full of pride in the achievements of our party, is an uplifting experience. I was more than pleased, I was delighted to see the response of each group of delegates to the salute played by the orchestra to each of our States.

For myself, I had a little difficulty. Born in Texas, raised in Kansas, having served in the United States in many stations throughout the country, finally getting a voting residence in New York, and transferring later to Pennsylvania, with a mother from Virginia, a father from Pennsylvania, my wife born in Iowa and raised in Colorado, I didn't know exactly where my first loyalty fell except in the point of time.

Nevertheless, it was really a thrill for me to see the enthusiasm with which each person, each individual in those delegations, greeted the sound of their State song. Because, as loyalty goes to each State, and as our hearts beat faster when we see or hear something that reminds us of that beloved area, we think always, at bottom, of the United States of America. And frankly, in a word, I believe that the whole program of the Republican Party, its reason for being is to serve better than any other group can the United States of America. On that, there is no question.

Now I must say--and this is for the record--that if the women of our party now mobilize for the 1960 drive the kind of national campaign that they have twice participated in so successfully in the past 7 years, the result, once again, will be victory.

I have never been accused of being a smart politician. But I am this smart: I found out, as long ago as 1952, that there are more women in the United States than there are men. And I have always tried to let them know that I knew that.

We all know that our party is outnumbered in registrations--badly so in some of the States.

To win, all of us have to work hard.

There is a little story that suggests something of the tactical problem faced by the Grand Old Party.

During a visit to Switzerland, before World War I, the German Kaiser conducted an exhaustive examination of the Swiss Army. One evening he turned to the Commanding Colonel to say: "Your soldiers are brave, carefully disciplined, and they shoot well. But you are only a half million. Suppose we march a million men against you. What would you do then?" "We'd each shoot twice, Your Excellency," answered the Colonel quickly without the slightest flicker of emotion.

So--we Republicans need simply to work twice as hard. We are not working at shooting anybody. We are working to send in twice as many recruits as we ever had before, so we work twice as hard for that purpose.

Now you women have come to Washington for this Conference, and those you represent back home, and you have time and again demonstrated your readiness to work without ceasing and at top speed--and that is what we need. You have proved that mere numbers as measured by party registration is not the answer, but that belief in a cause and down-to-earth work--hard work--wins elections.

Your own confidence and optimism--what I have seen here tonight-are the ingredients of success that you must always seek to transmit to others. In getting across the facts to others, it is well to remember that knowledge is not taught, it is caught. This is why your enthusiasm becomes so vitally important as we seek to persuade others to march under our Republican standard. The leader who is obviously dedicated to a cause and shows his pride in its service will certainly draw to himself an increasing army of friends, followers, and associates.

We Republicans are justly proud of the steady accomplishments made since January 1953. Our prosperity, the increased standard of living for Americans, and security for ourselves and our friends through strength and understanding, are facts beyond dispute. They are worthy of your pride. But they have resulted from faithful adherence to the Republican creed.

That creed has been lived and expounded by a long line of distinguished Republicans, from Lincoln onward. They have invariably insisted upon the security of our Nation;
upon the liberty and rights of the individual, and his free opportunity to better himself in every legitimate way;
upon respect for the rights and the responsibilities of the several States;
upon honesty in Government; upon fiscal integrity; and
upon an expanding economy, based upon a dollar that, earned today, will buy tomorrow and day after an equal amount of groceries.

Republicans hold that the level of Federal spending should be measured by necessity, not by political opportunism. No one has ever spent himself into prosperity; many have spent themselves into insolvency. As Republicans we are proud of such words as thrift and frugality and efficiency. Whenever you apply these words to Federal activities and spending, Americans will listen to you attentively, because today everybody knows that everybody pays additional taxes for political extravagance. Your many written and verbal messages to me on this subject are evidence of the emphasis you place upon economy in Government.

Such convictions as these, conveyed to others with the vigor and enthusiasm I have seen here this evening, will present to all America an energetic and tireless and confident Republican Party.

I might say that I know that every one of us is a busy individual. Whether you are principally occupied in your home, or in an office, whether you may be in the public service, whatever you do, the loyalty and work for the Republican Party is a bit of an extracurricular service. It is a service of dedication, indeed loyalty and love, and therefore it can be the most powerful and effective thing that we can produce.

I want to say, on my own behalf, I think at times--at least in spite of other critics--that I am quite busy myself. But so far as I am able, so far as time and endurance and strength will permit, I am with you to the bitter end, not only this election of 1960 but in every possible way to make the Republican Party that effective political instrument that will lead America into the path that we know to be correct.

The Republican Party is and will continue to be dedicated to one basic purpose--the security, freedom, and the prosperity of our people.

Working ceaselessly in this cause, Republicans, Independents, discerning Democrats, and new voters can and will achieve political victory. In doing so, they will win the opportunity to serve effectively and with devotion our Nation, her citizens, and the cause of peace with justice.

Thank you--and goodnight, ladies.

Note: The President spoke at a dinner meeting at the Statler Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C. His opening remarks "Mrs. Williams, Chairman Morton" referred to Mrs. Clare Williams and Senator Thruston B. Morton, Assistant Chairman and Chairman of the Republican National Committee, respectively.


Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at the Seventh Annual Republican Women's Conference. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235405

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